Another Look at your Supply Chain Management: Is it Time to Re-Hire?

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Employees are often the very heart of a business, all functioning toward the success of the business.  In this economy, when employee counts are shrinking, the remaining employees pick up more responsibilities of their departing co-workers.  Sometimes the duties that are shuffled around the office aren’t reallocated to the optimal employees.  To add to the dilution of skills, is an ever-changing marketplace.  Technology, economics, and standard basic business practices change as rapidly as the stock market.  This seemingly quiet problem can actually present a significant issue to a business struggling to remain profitable in today’s market.

Speaking specifically of supply chain management, Jennifer Balijko posed the question in her EBN Blog titled “Wanted: Purchasers Who Think Like Economists”:  “In a world where supply chains compete against supply chains, do companies even know what skills their people have today, what skills are missing, and how they can encourage employees to advance supply chain practices?”  She suggests that companies should invest in their employees, but is it education or life experience that will lead to the potential success of a supply chain manager.  I think that it’s a little of both, plus something else.

Balijko looked into universities to see how their supply chain curriculum has kept up with the times and found nominal updates, which isn’t surprising.  For many reasons, colleges and universities can be slow to modify curriculum.  However, a college education can supply a solid foundation for a future career.  Core courses in business, economics, sourcing, logistics, transportation, and supply chain management are a great start to a supply chain career.  Supplemental classes or an additional minor if given the opportunity, in international business, social media, and other global courses could round out a well-balanced degree.

Sometimes though, education cannot take the place of good, old-fashioned on-the-job experience.  In order to reap the benefits of a talented employee, a business should invest in training and continued education.  In-house employees can train a new employee so that they can perform as well as existing staff.  Continuous improvement is often a goal or mission of a company and that includes allowing employees to offer suggestions about improving internal processes.  Sometimes it takes another set of eyes, or an employee from another department, to offer a solution to streamline or improve a procedure.

Employees should also participate in annual conferences, take courses, and become knowledgeable about changes in their own industry.  In a perfect economy, a business can foot the bill for a periodic conference or class, but an employee must continue to grow and learn in order to advance their own career.  After all, promotions are not just handed out for status quo performance.

On top of education and experience, one additional aspect for a successful employee is the proper tools to perform their job well.  Take a solid look at the supply chain management software that your employees are using – the software could actually be the weak link.  Microsoft Dynamics® ERP is an intelligent business solution that has kept up with the times.  Modeled after real business processes and easy to implement, this simple, yet powerful software can improve productivity and streamline business processes.  Specifically to the supply chain, good software can automate workflow and reduce the opportunity for human error.  Microsoft Dynamics is also flexible, agile to change as your business changes, and will help you compete globally.

So, is it time to re-hire?  It may not be necessary to clean house, but rather invest in continued education to keep up with a dynamic marketplace, allow experienced employees to train newer staff, and make sure your software is dynamic enough to make their jobs easier.

By Socius, Ohio Microsoft Dynamics Partner

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